Employers in British Columbia must protect the health and safety of their workers. WorkSafeBC expects employers in all industries to mitigate known safety hazards to prevent on-the-job accidents. The craft brewery industry is growing rapidly, and safety authorities say the workplace injury risks have increased at a similar pace.
All employers in British Columbia have various obligations and duties toward employees. The Workers' Compensation Act requires employers to protect the health and safety of employees. An employer who fails to comply with the required standards could be held accountable if an employee should suffer a preventable workplace injury. However, some believe that health care workers in particular need more protection against workplace violence.
Workers in all industries in British Columbia are exposed to hazards in the workplace. While any workplace injury that involves fractured bones or open wounds is easy to recognize as being work-related, some occupational illnesses might be questioned. However, an endless list of carcinogens and radiation sources exist in various industries, and employers must protect employees against them.
The hazards posed by puncture wounds caused by needlesticks and other sharp objects are prevalent in the health care industry. However, the threat of this type of workplace injury can also be found in Vancouver facilities where workers deal with solid waste and recovery of recycling material. These injuries often involve inadvertent skin punctures during the disposal or disassembly of hypodermic needles.
The continued dangers posed by asbestos may alarm British Columbia residents, homeowners and workers. Since 2000, the numbers of work-related fatalities from diseases caused by asbestos have exceeded the numbers of any other type of workplace injury in the province. In a December 2018 report entitled Keeping Workers, the Public and the Environment Safe from Asbestos, the BC government reported that asbestos-related occupational diseases continue to pose a serious threat to the health of workers, and compiled a number of recommendations to reduce the impact of asbestos.
Some business owners in British Columbia may not be pleased that just about every employer must register for and pay insurance premiums to protect injured workers. In BC, even property owners who build their own residences or those who hire casual workers as regular gardeners, domestic workers, nannies and cleaners must register with WorkSafe BC. While it might seem like an unnecessary expense, some argue that employers can see the value of these payments if they consider that the absence of workers' compensation insurance could require their businesses to be responsible for payment of medical fees that follow on-the-job injuries and rehabilitation.
No business owner in British Columbia wishes to be held responsible for harm to employees. While accidents are known to happen when least expected, employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent workplace injuries. Employers who properly comply with due diligence requirements will not be accused of exposing their workers to known hazards.
On April 28th, 2018, Canadians took a moment to pause and pay tribute to victims and survivors of workplace injuries. The National Day Of Mourning, or Workers’ Mourning Day, recognizes and honours the thousands of individuals and families who have had their lives irrevocably changed as a result of an occupational disease or workplace accident.
Firefighters in British Columbia and other provinces and territories face multiple safety hazards. Instances of workplace injury are prevalent because they work in dangerous situations in which they are often exposed to extreme conditions that include high temperatures. Although previous research identified cardiovascular diseases as the primary cause of the death of firefighters, new studies contradict that.
Construction company owners in British Columbia who disregard the safety and health of employees in favour of maximizing profits may not realize that injured workers will adversely affect the bottom line. Instead, proactive steps can avoid instances of workplace injury while non-compliance fines under the occupational health and safety requirements laws can be prevented. To make it easier for employers to comply, WorkSafeBC recently released a three-year plan that will help company owners to limit serious occupational injuries in the construction industry.